The last round of updates to the English version of the General Handbook: Serving in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was published December 15, 2021. Although future updates to the handbook will be published as needed, this is the final major release of the handbook in English since revisions began publishing in February 2020.
The new content includes seven newly revised chapters and many other revisions. These updates have been published in English on ChurchofJesusChrist.org and on the Gospel Library app. They will be translated into other languages in the coming months.
The most substantial revisions just published are listed below.
Chapter 14: Single Members
- Included doctrinal counsel from President M. Russell Ballard’s April 2021
general conference message “Hope in Christ.”
- Gave elders quorum and Relief Society presidents responsibility for supporting
young single adults. Connected the single adult and young single adult
committees to ward and stake councils.
- Explained that Area Presidencies may authorize stake presidents to invite all
young single adults or single adults in the stake to be members of one
Chapter 19: Music
- Updated the names of some callings.
- Removed assigning a member of the bishopric or high council to be the ward or stake music adviser.
- Added information about using culturally diverse musical styles.
- Added information about using instruments other than piano and organ.
Chapter 28: Temple Ordinances for the Deceased
- Added guidelines about names to submit for temple ordinances and names not to submit.
- Added explanation about all proxy ordinances, not just baptism for the dead.
- Added a policy to allow unendowed Melchizedek Priesthood holders to officiate in confirmations for the dead.
Chapter 31: Interviews and Other Meetings with Members
- Added interview questions for Melchizedek Priesthood ordination.
- Updated the baptism interview questions.
- Added guidelines about meeting with members virtually.
- Limited the term interview to ministering interviews and settings where a priesthood leader is determining a member’s spiritual readiness to participate in an ordinance or receive a calling.
Chapter 33: Records and Reports
- Added instructions on recording attendance for Sunday quorum and organization meetings.
- Added instructions about records for members with intellectual disabilities.
- Added instructions about data privacy and security.
Chapter 34: Finances and Audits
- Removed references to unit checking and savings bank accounts because they are no longer used.
- Added the video “Sacred Funds, Sacred Responsibilities.”
- Introduced references to online donations and to new disbursement instruments such as payment cards and electronic payments.
- Described the “companionship principle” when recording or disbursing Church funds.
- Updated auditing instructions.
Chapter 35: Care and Use of Meetinghouses
- Added information about the roles of Area Seventies, Church facilities managers, and stake and ward technology specialists.
- Changed the title of the “stake physical facilities representative” to “stake building representative.”
- Added information about the Facility Issue Reporting (FIR) app, which stake and ward council members can use to request building maintenance.
Section 38.2: Policies for Ordinances and Blessings
- Moved general information that leaders will likely need to access routinely from section 38.2 to chapters 18 and 31. Section 38.2 now focuses primarily on special circumstances.
- Added a section about streaming ordinances.
- Removed the policy stating that a person who violated the law of chastity with someone of the same sex needs the mission president’s approval before being baptized.
Section 38.3: Civil Marriage
- Added a policy about streaming marriages held in Church buildings.
- Added information about when someone who is not a Church officer may perform a marriage in a Church building.
Section 38.4: Sealing Policies
- Clarified sealing policies and processes.
- Added a policy to allow married members who are younger than 21 and are not endowed to be sealed to their parents.
- Added a policy to allow a child to be sealed to his or her noncustodial natural parent and a stepparent if the other natural parent gives consent.
Section 38.9: Military Relations and Chaplain Services
- Removed most information that applies only to the United States military (now available online).
- Clarified instructions about wearing the garment in the military.
- Added information about how stake presidents and chaplains work together.
Other Updated and New Content
Chapter 18: Performing Priesthood Ordinances and Blessings
- Added information, previously in section 38.2, about approving, authorizing, and performing ordinances.
Chapter 25: Temple and Family History Work in the Ward and Stake
- Clarified that the mission president reviews recommendations for ordinance workers for members living in a district (25.5.1).
- Added instructions for area temple and family history advisers (25.3.7).
Chapter 26: Temple Recommends
- Updated the name of limited-use recommends (this change is throughout the handbook).
- Clarified that children younger than 8 do not need a temple recommend to be sealed to their parents (26.4.1).
- Used more inviting language about requirements to receive the endowment (26.5.1).
Chapter 27: Temple Ordinances for the Living
- Clarified that members who are 21 or older must be endowed and hold a current temple recommend to be sealed to their parents (27.4.1).
- Added a policy that married members who are younger than 21 do not need to be endowed to observe a sealing of living siblings, stepsiblings, or half siblings to their parents. However, they must have a temple recommend (27.4.4).
Chapter 32: Repentance and Church Membership Councils
- Added language about embezzlement of Church funds or property (22.214.171.124).
- Added language to advise stake presidents to counsel together when members who live in different stakes have committed serious sins together (32.7.11).
- Added a statement that a membership council may be necessary for threats of physical violence, whether made in person or online (126.96.36.199).
188.8.131.52: Personal Internet and Social Media Use
- Added language to address (1) prejudiced behavior online and (2) the use of threatening, bullying, degrading, violent, or otherwise abusive language or images online.
38.8.27: Ministering to Members Affected by Crime and Incarceration and 38.8.42: Support to Members in Hospitals and Care Centers
- These two new sections replace the “Support to Members in Prisons, Hospitals, and Other Institutions” policy.
- Added a new policy to replace the “Bible” and “Book of Mormon” policies.
Other sections in the handbook have also been updated. These updates include the following:
- Provided additional clarifications for district presidents (6.3).
- Clarified that the “rising generation” means children, youth, and young adults (7.1).
- Simplified the roles of advisers and specialists in Aaronic Priesthood quorums and the Young Women organization (10.5, 11.3.5, 11.3.6).
- Clarified that high councilors who serve as stake Young Men and Sunday School presidents are called and set apart to serve in those positions (10.7, 13.6).
- Included the leaders of the ward young single adult committee and the ward music coordinator in the list of people who may be invited to ward council meetings as needed (29.2.5).
- Watch the video “The English Revision of the General Handbook Is Complete” below.
- Read the article “The General Handbook Is Complete in English” for a complete list of new and revised content.
- Read other articles about the General Handbook.